Septuagenarian Gauri Prasad Halder, a war veteran and a globetrotter who has spent several years in the US, is all praise for the neurology department of a state-run medical facility here, for giving him a new lease of life. Despair and gloom had gripped him after experts advised amputation of his legs post a botched medical procedure on his knees.
Halder had almost given up all hopes when he reached the neurology wing of Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) with pus and blood oozing from his swollen legs. ”I had lost all interest in life after my legs stopped moving after a total knee replacement at a private clinic. After running from pillar to post, I was advised amputation but it was my sheer good luck that I reached the Neurology Department of this hospital. “I am grateful to the Head of Neurology Department, Dr. Surendra Kumar, and his team for helping me, “said Halder who retired in 1973 and is a President’s awardee for distinguished services.
RIMS is a 1500-bedded multi-speciality hospital and the Neurology IPD (In-Patient Department) is a recent addition to the institute’s six decades of existence. Another patient, Shashi Kumar, 45, admitted to the 20-bed Neurology IPD functioning from the Oncology department as infrastructure for a separate Neurology department is still to be created, says after being admitted to the ward, costly drugs were arranged for him though he did not have Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission card, ration card or any source of income.
Sarita, 28 from Samastipur in Bihar suffering from congenital Myasthenia gravis, a condition caused by a breakdown in communication between nerves and muscles, said she can walk after being bed-ridden for months. Battling a severe manpower crunch and functioning from two makeshift OPDs that were earlier used for Dental OPD, the department has attended to more than 31,000 patients from Jharkhand and neighbouring states like Bihar, Odisha, and West Bengal, according to hospital records.
Neurology IPD that commenced in June 2021 has admitted 200 patients till December 2021. A Neurophysiology laboratory (EEG) started functioning in April 2021 and about 10 EEGs are conducted per day.
Interestingly the only Neurology wing in state-run hospitals in entire Jharkhand is functioning with the help of only one Associate Professor, two Assistant Professors, and a handful of other staff, including five nurses on a rotation basis.
HoD Neurology, RIMS Dr. Surendra Kumar told PTI: ”We endeavour to provide quality and affordable super specialty treatment to patients and we are in the process of upgrading this wing. “Now people of Jharkhand don’t need to go to other states for their neurological treatments. Many critically ill patients are being treated successfully for diseases like Myasthenia Gravis, GB Syndrome, Autoimmune encephalitis, complex epilepsies, meningitis, encephalitis, stroke, Multiple sclerosis, trigeminal neuralgia, headache, Parkinson’s disease, and movement disorders.” Dr. Kumar, who has 14 research publications to his credit besides being instrumental in setting up the wing, says more than 150 patients are attended to in the two OPDs daily while the department conducts an online OPD every Thursday for patients from Jharkhand.
”Often very costly drugs are required for treatment of some neurological disorders that may range in lakhs for a week’s treatment which is beyond the reach of the poor. Under such circumstances, if the patients do not have Ayushman Bharat or ration cards we try to get medicines with the help of patients who have completed their treatment or from donors, ” said Dr. Kumar.
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